A Cool Sip of Briefcase – IOTW Report

A Cool Sip of Briefcase

Semafor: Engineers at MIT and China’s Shanghai Jiao Tong University have developed a solar-powered device that could produce freshwater that is cheaper than tap water.

In a paper in the Joule journal, the scientists illustrated how the device allows water to circulate and then evaporate. The resulting water vapor is condensed and captured, leaving the salt behind. If scaled to the size of a briefcase, the device could produce about four to six liters of drinking water per hour, according to their findings. more here

14 Comments on A Cool Sip of Briefcase

  1. Ummm…..yeah. This was taught in the (old) Boy Scouts and (old) Army as a survival technique. Nothing new, except maybe the packaging.

  2. I had a friend that was Israeli and he said that for hot water they have piping on the roofs that absorb the heat. Which makes sense because have you ever left a water hose out in the sun then turn it on and get 2nd degree burns?
    Always thought that was super simple idea.

  3. Not everyone is close to a body of salt water. I suppose this could be used on rainwater, but in some areas it is illegal to collect rainwater. I don’t know if that is a state or federal thing.

    I should talk to my son about this. We (spelled “h-e”j could probably figure out a way of doing it.

  4. As has been mentioned, concentrated brine becomes the primary obstacle to construction of desalinization plants. Not that the ocean’s salt densities will be impacted generally, but that there will be locally higher densities that can negatively impact local ecologies. Attempts at diluting or relocating the concentrated brine significantly increases costs or are simply futile.

    The joint Israeli-Jordanian project is unique in that brine is proposed to be piped to the Dead Sea, which needs it, and to existing salt pans to the east of the Jordanian highlands.

    Salt pans have been utilized for other desalinization plants in that region. I don’t know what the long-term impact will be.

    Nature has a salt problem going back millions of years. When the vast shallow seas that once covered the earth began to dry up, they left behind salt layers often thousands of feet thick. This salt layer was subsequently covered by hundreds to thousands of feet of sediment. Because salt acts like a fluid when under pressure, it distorts the layers above it and creates some pretty amazing geological structures on the surface. (Importantly, salt domes concentrate hydrocarbons for economical extraction.)

    Salt also contaminates much of our groundwater resources, either as fossil brine aquifers or from freshwater contacting salt formations. Surface water can be contaminated as it passes over a shallow or exposed salt formation, as happens with the Dolores River, a tributary to the Colorado River, and the Paradox Basin, which significantly raises the salt content of the downstream water.

    Salt also exists in soils and is leached out by rainwater and agricultural runoff. Salt renders millions of acres of land as non-arable. Ironically, irrigation can destroy a field after a few years (sometimes in a single season), either through the use of brackish water, buildup of fertilizer salts, or by releasing salt from saline subsoil and concentrating it in the topsoil.

    Anyway, in order for mankind to have enough fresh water to live, we will have to use brackish and seawater, which will necessitate the “unnatural” concentration of salts and therefore trigger angst-filled discussion/rantings over the Salt Cycle and unsustainable human population.

    I will be interested to see if this new method can be scaled up. It could significantly reduce costs of desalinization. Unfortunately, a lot of neat ideas fail the scale-up test.

    I’ve written this much, I might as well make it longer and more boring. Way back when I was a productive member of society, I made a proposal for an innovative and low-cost desalinization plant to the water manager of a coastal city in Ecuador. He liked the idea, but explained that they had a large conventional plant already. It had been donated by, I think, Belgium or some other European country. It was unused and falling apart, due to funds being intercepted by corrupt politicians. He went on to explain that low-cost projects would not interest local politicians, as there would be less opportunity for graft.

    Politicians are a greater threat to the earth and humanity than climate change.


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